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Thread: Lighting help for barn dance.

  1. #1
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Lighting help for barn dance.

    Got a very busy month of May looming photography wise, Ive got a barn dance to shoot, a 12 subject environmental portraiture session over 2 days and a wedding to do reportage style, so the pressure is on!

    I need advice for lighting the barn dance please. I have a nikon d800, 70-200, 24-70, both f 2.8 2 x sb900 speedlights, pocket wizards, some ellinchrom studio stuff and various brackets, modifiers and bits and bobs.

    the light levels will probably be low and obviously the subjects will be moving.

    Has anyone out there shot this sort of function? if so what lighting did you use? im happy to shoot up to 6400 iso but will probably want to keep aperture at F5.5-f8 to keep things in focus.

    If i use those settings and put 2 speedlights in an easy box on a pole with an assistant holding the pole high pointing down, will this work or will it be to cumbersome? will the shutterspeed of 1/250 be fast enough?.

    would i be better using off camera flash with a camera mounted bracket and a stofen type modifier, or a smaller easybox?

    if you have shot this sort of event please post your images and tell me how you lit them.

    any help gratefully received!!
    Last edited by Mark von Kanel; 28th April 2013 at 09:54 AM. Reason: spelling/grammar

  2. #2

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    Re: Lighting help for barn dance.

    Hi Mark,

    We need more info first. What are the restrictions on the use of the strobes? Usually they'll want flawlessly lit photos, but won't want you to use flash as it'll be "distracting".

    I could be wrong, but I'd be "surprised" if you're able to hit 1/250th @ ISO 6400 @ F5.6 / F8, although hopefully not too far away from it. You'll need to watch your exposures as the situation has the potential to be quite contrasty and yet your dynamic range at those ISOs will be significantly reduced.

    Remote triggered flashes are a great start, but you're going to need to decide if you're going to supplement the ambient light or replace it. Supplementing it means you'll probably need to gel the flashes & strobes to match the colour temperature of the ambient lighting. If you're going to replace it, then you'll need a well thought out lighting setup and a fair amount of "fire power" if you're not simply shooting individuals or very small groups. Additionally, I doubt you'll be able to sync strobes above about 1/125th.

    Having an assistant is a good thing - having a couple is even better. You might want to give some thought as to how you will be communicating with them is the music is loud.

    How's your liability for electric cables for strobes?

    At a minimum, I'd suggest a good rehearsal. Last similar thing I shot (under stage lights) I was down to 1/20th @ F4 @ ISO 3200 (max 1/80th).

  3. #3
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting help for barn dance.

    Hi Colin,

    Thanks for your reply, ill gather more information and let you have it later today. This is a charity affair and relatively informal (my wife works for the charity)

    They want some publicity shots and although the environmental portraiture shoot is paid, this one is a freebe and im doing it to learn the shooting tech as much as anything else.

    i take it that by strobes you mean the ellinchroms and flashes the sb900's? is there any reason i wouldnt be able to sync at 1/250? i have synced at this speed before with both light sets

    Liability is fine as i carry full professional insurance.

    Ill get access to the hall and measure light levels and get back to you all for more advice!

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    Re: Lighting help for barn dance.

    Hi Mark,

    Yes - I tend to refer to main-powers lighting as "strobes" or "studio heads" and "flashes" meaning speedlights.

    If you've synced at that speed before then great, but you'll normally only be able to so that with studio strobes if you're using hyper-sync, otherwise the limit is usually around 1/125th. I think that even with hypersync it costs you some energy.

    If the strobs are the primary light source then the shutterspeed assumes far less importance as the pulse duration of the strobes becomes your effective shutterspeed (assuming minimal ambient).

    PS: Just because they're a charity and you're doing it for nothing doesn't mean that they'll let you use strobes -- you need to recite the free-photography mantra ...

    We the unwilling,
    Lead by the unknowing,
    Doing the impossible,
    For the ungrateful,
    For so long,
    With so little,
    You're now expected to do anything, ...

    ... with NOTHING!

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Lighting help for barn dance.

    Finaly gained access to the venue! its about 15 X 20 M and has tungsten ambient lighting static strobes are not an option and an assistant with a light on a stick may work but will be cumbersome so i think a flash on a camera mounted bracket is likely to be the best option although i could use a combination of both.

    ill cto gell the flashes and see how i get on using TTl Has anyone used an easy box or sto fen type mod for camera mounted bracket type flash?

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    Re: Lighting help for barn dance.

    Hi Mark,

    I suspect that all a Stofen-type diffuser will do in a room that size is cost you a couple of stops of flash, and that's pretty much the LAST thing you need. What colour is the wall and ceilings? Can you post us a shot of the inside?

    How many people will you need to get in each shot? And from what distance?

    If it were me shooting it, I'd be using 4x Canon 600EX-RTs in a 30" 4-Square, and an assistant would be holding it (for individuals, couples, and small groups). For large groups / wide-angle shots I'd probably up the ISO even more and test the waters on the night.

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